A Brief History of Saffron
Many people don’t know that saffron is actually the stigma and styles from Crocus sativus L., those thready inner parts of the flower. Once collected and dried, they turn a vibrant red color in their spice form, which results in a deep golden color in foods and dyes.
People have cultivated this plant for thousands of years for its medicinal, culinary and coloring properties. In fact, it can no longer be found in the wild, but is likely a descent of the wild Crocus cartwrightianus, which flowers in autumn just like the modern saffron crocus. It has boasted a notable presence in the spice trade from the earliest days of human commerce.
Because the threads must be separated so carefully from the yellow stamen (which are tasteless and lack the same properties as the stigma and styles), the spice has always been and is to this day very expensive.